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Rakorako Initiative Highlights COVID-19 Impacts

Suva, Fiji, May 27, 2020 — Two thirds of companies in Fiji who were surveyed by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Fiji Human Resources Institute (FHRI) on the impact of COVID-19 believe the pandemic has increased employees’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence.
Fifteen companies were surveyed as part of an IFC and FHRI webinar series, Rakorako: Building a Safe and Resilient Business to help the private sector address childcare demands and workplace responses to domestic and sexual violence.
“Employer supported childcare and workplace responses to domestic and sexual violence are relevant now more than ever to promote a safe and resilient business as companies cope with the impact of COVID-19”, FHRI President, Kameli Batiweti said.
Overall the IFC- FHRI COVID-19 survey found that 93 percent of the businesses have been negatively affected by COVID-19 , with main impacts centering around restrictions on operations, cuts in demand and in turnover or cash flow.  Some companies have sent staff on leave and implemented home-based work.  
“COVID-19 has impacted the world all over and most economies are struggling to find solutions for the “new normal”,” IFC Resident Representative for Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Deva De Silva said. “As businesses find solutions to survive, it is important they are also creating safe, family friendly and resilient workplaces.”
According to the survey, some businesses had safe systems in place to allow their employees to work safely or use flexible options for work through providing  laptops and mobile devices. But some businesses were not prepared for more complicated scenarios that might impact their employees, such as an increase in childcare demands, clients’ aggression or domestic and sexual violence.
“The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) is providing counselling to its employees on parenting, domestic and sexual violence and financial stress management in COVID-19 times,” FNPF Human Resources General Manager, Ravinesh Krishna said.
The survey also found that businesses needed support in mental health programs for employees, wage subsidies and financial support.
The findings will be discussed by businesses at the next session of the Rakorako webinars, to be held today, May 27 and tomorrow, May 28. The series is built on the findings of two IFC reports released last year on the Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Fiji and the Business Case for Workplace Responses to Domestic and Sexual Violence. IFC’s work in this area has been supported by the governments of Australia and New Zealand under the Fiji Partnership.  “With Rakorako, we are aiming to build resilient Fijian businesses that create opportunities for both women and men to fully utilize their talents at work, by developing solutions to fit the workplace, ” IFC Gender Specialist, Ellen Maynes said . “This is an important objective in Fiji where women are underrepresented in the workforce and leadership in business.”
Fiji Partnership
IFC’s work in Fiji is supported by the governments of Australia and New Zealand under the Fiji Partnership to unlock private sector investment, promote sustainable economic growth and boost shared prosperity in Fiji.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2019, we invested more than $19 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit .
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